ICW Monthly Snapshots
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March 2015 snapshot
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November 2015

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ICW Updates

ICW calls upon WHO for increased engagement of women living with HIV in the discussions on hormonal contraception especially Depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and need to make guidance based on scientific evidence. ICW is concerned about the WHO’s updated guidance on DMPA that was released on October 21, 2015, which concludes that “there is no evidence of a causal association between DMPA use and women’s risk of HIV acquisition” without new data upon which this conclusion was based. 

Click on this link for an article that mentions the letter that was submitted to WHO in relation to the new guideline on hormonal contraception especially Depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA)

ICW was at the FIGO Conference in Vancouver on October 2-11, 2015. ICW was asked to speak on a powerful panel session on forced and or coerced sterilization of women living with HIV. ICW emphasized that women living with HIV must be provided safe space to express their fertility desires in an environment that is free from shame and prejudice. In addition, women must be provided with current information, recommendations and guidelines/requirements for informed consent and ICW called for investment in community initiatives particularly those that are peer led to address stigma and discrimination including support for disclosure to partners or family members and provision information and support for women and their communities

ICW was represented at the GFAN Speakers Bureau training. In addition, ICW was a panelists discussing the role of the Global Fund in achieving Universal Health Access by 2030 during the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). ICW also engaged in speaking with the inter party parliamentary committee of the German Parliament and the UK's Members of Parliament about the impact of the Global Fund and urged them to fund the Global Fund in order to save lives and work towards ending the AIDS, TB and Malaria epidemics by 2030.                                                                                   

ICW in partnership with GNP+ conducted training on the People Living with HIV Stigma Index in Caribbean region on October 27-28, 2015. The training was attended by representatives of the networks of people living with HIV from 5 countries namely Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Suriname, Jamaica and Guyana. Each country representatives developed the plan for rolling out stigma index in their respective countries.

ICW as a permanent partner was represented at the Civil Society and Conference Coordinating Committee for AIDS 2016 meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa from October 9 – 11, 2015. In this meeting the civil society team advocated for the prioritization of scholarships for people living with HIV, and for people living with HIV and key populations were in prominent high level speaking sessions. Scholarship applications as well as the first round of abstract sessions are opening December 1st. ICW will be hosting a number of outreach support sessions for women living with HIV. If you are not already connected please join our Members Yahoo group and mailing list for updated details.

ICW in Action

This month the Members Advocacy Workshop, featured Sally Kwenda’ personal experience of living with HIV and being diagnosed with cancer. A routine check-up visit for Sally resulted in information that she had tested positive for stage two cervical cancer. A few years later the cancer spread to her Colon and she has had so many surgeries and treatment as well as juggles life with HIV. “My uterus was removed. My anus was scooped out. Fifty-two centimetres of my colon was removed. Despite all that, I am alive. “I have accepted my condition; Acceptance is not the same as giving up,” Sally says. Sally is a member of The Kenya Cancer Association (KENCASA) and a Cancer champion for The Relay. If you would like to learn more about upcoming Know Your Rights Advocacy Workshops please contact Jessica at communityrelations@iamicw.org.

ICW continued to release regular Global Fund updates and share them with diverse stakeholders inclusive of membership and partners. 

In The Media

Regional Updates

ICW Asia Pacific has selected Ms. Sita Banjade Shahi as the Regional Coordinator from a competitive global recruitment process. Sita is a woman living with HIV and has a long history of advocacy with and for women living with HIV. Most recently, Sita served as the Executive Director of the Nepal National Federation of Women Living with HIV in Nepal (NFWLHA). Previously, Ms. Shahi has served ICW as a member of the ICW Asia Pacific Regional Board and as the regions appointed representative to the International Steering Committee. Sita brings to the network great expertise in advocacy, governance, and program management. She will be based in Bangkok.

ICW Asia Pacific hosted its first Regional Convening on the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights of Women Living with HIV in Bangkok on November 4-6. The meeting brought together advocates from networks of women living with HIV from 5 countries including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Nepal and Thailand and focused on sharing information and strategies to end the practices of forced and coerced sterilization and other forms of discrimination and violence experienced by women living with HIV in healthcare settings through out the world. Sethembiso Mthembu from ICW Southern Africa attended and presented on the work to end forced and coerced sterilization in the Southern African Region. The regional convening focused on sharing and developing country level advocacy and forged a plan for greater coordination and collaboration at the regional level.

Next up: ICW Asia Pacific Feminist School will be held December 9-14th in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

ICW Caribbean held its first regional leaders' meeting in Kingston, Jamaica on October 5-6, 2015. Participating were 13 representatives from Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda. During these two days’ meeting, the team drafted a commitment statement and laid the ground work for advocacy and membership mobilization plan in the four countries in the region. ICW Caribbean is committed to raising the voices of the women in the Caribbean region at national, regional and international levels.

In addition, ICW Caribbean is preparing for the election of the regional ISC representative and the alternate. Elections will be held by December 2015.

ICW Eastern Africa – has been busy with planning for the launch of the research report entitled “Violation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Women Living with HIV and AIDS in Clinical Settings in Uganda”, scheduled for November 19, 2015. For details, please contact Ms. Lillian Mworeko at lmworeko@icwea.org

ICW Eastern Europe and Central Asia launched the new Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS’s website http://www.ewna.org/ in October with a campaign to end violence to women living with HIV. Regionally women participated in the Day of the Girl Child and there was a competition among children, "I love my family," as a result of October 11, International Day of the Girl Child, adopted by the UN, which was an exhibition of drawings of children from 4 to 17 years.

In Kyrgyzstan, women met to discuss a regional convening for the 16 Days of Activism with the Bishkek Feminist Collective and other women’s rights groups – particularly focusing on women living with HIV who use drugs, women in prisons, sex workers and women who are looking for meaningful employment.

ICW Eastern Europe and Central Asia launched the new Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS’s website http://www.ewna.org/ in October with a campaign to end violence to women living with HIV. Regionally women participated in the Day of the Girl Child and there was a competition among children, "I love my family," as a result of October 11, International Day of the Girl Child, adopted by the UN, which was an exhibition of drawings of children from 4 to 17 years.

In Kyrgyzstan, women met to discuss a regional convening for the 16 Days of Activism with the Bishkek Feminist Collective and other women’s rights groups – particularly focusing on women living with HIV who use drugs, women in prisons, sex workers and women who are looking for meaningful employment.

ICW Middle East and North Africa – sensitized women engaged in sex work in Cameroon about importance of correct and consistent condom use. During the sessions, many of the sex workers gained confidence and talked about their HIV status and testified that they had a lot of self-stigma which they overcame during the session. In addition, ICW MENA distributed male and female condoms.

ICW North America was represented by Marvelous Muchenje in the Canadian People Living with HIV Stigma Index where she brought the voices of women living with HIV in Canada. Marvelous is part of the research team, and country Steering Committee for the Canadian People Living with HIV Stigma Index. The proposed national community-based research study will be the first of its kind in Canada and will help to examine resilience factors that may reduce the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on the health and social well-being of people living with HIV. The study aims to recruit a total of 1,250 adults living with HIV and the regions will include British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.

ICW once again partnered with the Canadian HIV Legal Network at a Feminist Dialogue about HIV Non Disclosure in Vancouver, Canada for a two day meeting with women’s rights and HIV organizations in British Columbia.

Karen Marcinczyk, Regional Coordinator, was nominated to be a Coordinator for the United States People Living with HIV (US PLHIV) and she is a member of Caucus Steering Committee Work Group which is responsible for planning the Caucus Reception and Meet and Greet at AIDS Watch 2016, February 29-March 1, 2016, Washington D.C., USA.

ICW Southern Africa at a meeting on Hormonal Contraception and HIV (HC-HIV) that was held on October 22 -23rd, 2015 in Lusaka, Zambia was represented by Ms. Sethembiso Mbeki, the Regional Coordinator who was among the panellists with Margaret Happy, ICW Communication and Advocacy Officer, Ms. Lillian Mworeko, ICWEA Regional Coordinator and Ms. Eunice, the National Coordinator of the Zambian Network of People Living with HIV during the session on “Advocates perspective on Hormonal Contraception and HIV. The meeting was hosted by the USAID Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) project. The purpose of the HC-HIV meeting was to provide the latest technical updates related to hormonal contraception and HIV acquisition as well as to introduce the Strategic Communication Framework for Hormonal Contraceptive Methods and Potential HIV-Related Risks developed by HC3. The Communication Framework was developed in order to provide message guidance to countries on how they can communicate the possible risks that have been reported in some studies. The meeting was attended by representation from Ministries of Health, UN Partners and civil society in various countries. Please see the link below for the Strategic Communication Framework for Hormonal Contraceptive Methods and Potential HIV-Related Risks.

ICW West Africa hosted a training that brought 47 women living with HIV from 16 countries of Western and Central Africa about the ambitious global targets of 90% of the people accessing HIV testing services, 90% of the people living with HIV accessing HIV treatment, and 90% of the people living with HIV who are initiated on ART having viral load suppressed. The overall aim was to equip participants with leadership skills and ability to advocate for the ambitious 90-90-90. The participants agreed to champion the 90–90–90 targets in western and central Africa and to urge their governments to increase domestic funding for health, including the AIDS response, to 15% of national budgets, as recommended by the African Union in its 2001 Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other related infectious diseases.

“We are transiting from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals and this is an opportunity for us to make our governments take treatment as a priority.” Assumpta Reginald, Regional Director, ICW, West Africa.

Chapter for Young Women, Adolescents and Girls (CYWAG): CYWAG partnered with YouthCo in Vancouver, Canada to support a young woman living with HIV to support their young women’s programing and link it to the global youth movement. From December to March they will have a CYWAG intern in their office who will help to link local women to the global CYWAG group using Love Positive Women. 

This Month's Profile

Name: Bana Rachel

Country: Cameroon

Region: ICW MENA

Who She Is: Rachel is a Counselor, aged 37 years, a single parent of three children

What She Does: Works in a hospital in Cameroon as a counselor for pregnant women. She also makes home visits to people living with HIV (PLWHIV) and hepatitis.

Why Is ICW Important: ICW creates a platform for women to talk about realities of women.

ICW                                                                 women

Get Involved!

ICW Members Advocacy Workshop call

ICW Members Advocacy Workshop call on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 as Judy Twins from the International Network of People Who Use Drugs (IPUD) will speak on Women, HIV and Drugs. Please join us at 8am (NYC)/ 3pm (Nairobi). To join the call please contact Velvine at admin@iamicw.com

 

Other Upcoming Advocacy Workshops/ events:

  • The 12th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • Panel discussions on the PEPFAR DREAMS Initiative on November 20, 2015. 

The U.S. government through its U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) entered into partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation on a new initiative to help girls develop into Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS) women. The DREAMS Initiative seeks to reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Please see the invite for the details.

  • The 16 days of activism against gender based violence, November 25 – December 10, 2015
  • World AIDS Day, December 1, 2015
  • International Disability Day, December 3, 2015 
  • International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2015
  • International Conference on HIV and AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 29 – 2 December 2015, If you are attending please contact Jessica on email communityrelations@iamicw.org or Florence on email advocacy@iamicw.org to participate in the ICW activities. 
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    ICW events include:

    • Women’s Pre- conference community programme event on November 27th and 28th hosted in partnership with SAFAIDS, Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition (PAPWC), and the United Nations Regional AIDS Team for East and Southern Africa.
    • Date and doodle on the role of women living with HIV in research at the Women’s Networking Zone on November 29, 2015 from 2pm.
    • Lunch Sessions with the Chapter of Young Women, Adolescents and Girls (CYWAG) in the Women’s Networking Zone on December 29th and 30th, 2015 from 1pm- 2pm. 
    • Knowledge, use and preferences of women and girls on PrEP at the Women’s Networking Zone on November, 30th from 2pm. 
    • ICW and INPUD Statement Launch in the Women’s Networking Zone on Women, HIV and Drugs, December 1, 2015
    • Meaningful Engagement of Women living with HIV in SDG’s Implementation at Women’s Networking Zone on December 1,2015 from 2pm
    • People Living with HIV Stigma Index: From Research to Action, December 2, 2015 from 7am
    • UNAIDS Panel session on PMTCT at ICASA, December 2, 2015 from 10.45am
    • Meaningful Engagement of Women living with HIV in country level Global Fund processes at the Women’s Networking Zone on December 3, 2015 from 4pm
    • UNDP Panel on Gender, HIV and TB at the Women’s Networking Zone on December 3, from 5pm.
    • Date and Doodle for IAS 2016; the road to Durban at the Women’s Networking Zone on December 4, from 3pm.
    • Women’s Networking Zone; The road to Durban Dinner at ICASA- dates to be shared. 

Opportunity Announcement

As ICW East Africa (ICWEA) is finishing its tenure after AIDS 2016 there will be an available seat on the Conference Coordinating Committee to be filled. ICW encourages global civil society organizations that works focuses on HIV to apply for representation on the Conference Coordination Committee (CCC) for the International AIDS Society (IAS) 2018. The selected organization will be entitled to send one person to the CCC meetings preceding the conference (4-6 meetings, some virtual). All costs to attend the meetings will be covered by the conference budget. The expected time commitment can vary but on average is approximately 20 hours per month. 

ICW                                                                 women